Author: 0083
Pairings: 1x2x1 (it's a coming), wee bit of 3x4x3
Warnings: angst, naughty language, strangeness, AU stuff really...
Disclaimer: in a perfect world, i own gw. in this one, i own crap.


Evergreen + Part 3

Draw me a picture worth a thousand words and I will write a poem worth a million pictures.

The tension was thick, almost solid in the air. Relena sat on a comfortable chair with her skirts arranged around it in a lady like fashion while her sisters stared holes into her head. She understood why they were angry, of course, but that did not make the confrontation any easier. She glanced sideways at her younger sister Dorothy, the master of the past and nearly flinched from the intense glare. Dorothy's frozen blue eyes were positively glacial and dripping with icy rage. On the other hand, her older sister Noin was more composed in her anger, sitting across from her quite calmly with her delicate hands folded over her lap. Relena almost hid behind Noin to escape Dorothy's gaze, but she didn't. She would stand by her decision and make sure that they understood why she had chosen the path that she did.

"Sister dear," Noin said smoothly, "care to explain to us why you gave Heero one of our most prized possessions?"

A half smile formed on Relena's face, tentative and nervous. She wondered if her sisters would understand her reasons.

"Yes, sister," Dorothy jumped in with an icy edge, "do tell us. Tell us why you gave away the Pendulum Signet, something we have never even considered parting with on any circumstances!"

Sighing deeply, Relena reconsidered her answers. She could say that she had given Heero the pendant because she had pitied his pained state. That was part of it, truthfully speaking. But a bigger part of the gift had not been mere pity nor a hope for his happiness.

"I did it to repent for our past mistakes."

"We made no mistake! We are the Fates. We never make mistakes."

Relena snorted at Noin's insistence.

"Oh, but don't we, sister?" Relena said with spite.

"We see the flow of time as it passes over mortals. Dorothy, you can change a mortal's past with a blink of an eye and send him spiraling to a different destiny. Noin, you can shape a life in the present, cut off their life at a whim. I can see the possible futures for mortals and choose a path for them, regardless of what they want. We have controlled them for so long that we forgot we can make mistakes."

"Just what mistake did we make with Heero's mortal anyway? We did for him as we would for any other mortal."

"Dorothy, you are as arrogant as you always were," Relena replied heatedly, "and you can't see how much we damaged one of our kind by being whimsical with his heart."

Noin raised her hand and stemmed the tide of cruel words to follow. She, as the oldest, had to maintain a level head.

"Relena, you know as well as I do, we do not inform anyone of our decisions. It was Dorothy's choice to make Heero's mortal lover love him. It was your choice to have the mortal follow Heero into that lair. And it was my choice to end his life there. What more could we have done? Heero knew that his mortal could die at any moment. It is not our responsibility to coddle him."

Relena shook her head in frustration. Her sisters just did not understand.

"That's not what I mean, Noin. We had a choice. We could have just let Heero's mortal go fall in love with someone else, fated it so that those two never even met. But because we destined him to love Heero, we permanently killed something within him. We all knew that Heero would love him! We saw it. So what if we can't control the lives of gods? We manipulated Heero's by playing with a mortal. Can't you see that we are at fault?"

Noin exploded. Relena had no other words for her sister's sudden burst of anger.

"How dare you question! There is no fault! We destined him to love Heero and that is that. So what if Heero fell for him? It was his choice, not ours. He damaged himself, not us. There is no responsibility. And you, in your stupidity, gave Heero a means to overstep what we have set out for his mortal in this lifetime! Don't you get it, Relena? If Heero uses the Pendulum, not only will he become mortal, but the two of them would step outside of destiny! That is unacceptable! No mortal can be out of our control."

Relena bowed her head in mute defeat. The Pendulum would create a void for Heero and his lover, a void free of their meddling, of fates, of destinies. They would become radicals within the world order for eternity because their souls would forever be outside of their reach. But she didn't care. It was the only way Heero could have his lover back. If he and his lover did not step outside of their control, she and her sisters could make everything go badly again. She could not bare to do that to Heero, not again. No. She would make sure her sisters did not interfere.

"It's too late!"

The horrified scream from Dorothy made Relena look up from her lap. Her sister's blue eyes were wide with terror, her blond hair whipping about her body as she shook from disbelief. Her own eyes widened at the same time Noin's did. Yes, it had happened. Heero had used the Pendulum.

Now, the rest of his life and his lovers were up to them.

+

Trowa and Quatre eyed the stranger warily, their hands ready to reach for weapons at a moment's notice. Wufei had not let his eyes wander far from him either, but his eyes were filled with downright hostility. But the stranger did not seem to notice the three of them at all. He was too busy staring at Duo, his face slack with joy.

"All those years.. finally, we can be together again."

Duo did not understand what the stranger was talking about. He had never seen him in his life, had he? He figured he would remember someone like him. So Duo had to conclude he did not know this odd but gorgeous man. Then why did he feel as if he should know him, that he should have some ties to him? And why did he resent him so much? There were questions that he could not answer swimming around in his head, clamoring for resolution.

"Who are you?"

Heero smiled at Duo's hesitant tone. His lover definitely looked and sounded different than his previous incarnation. He was no longer an auburn haired, green eyed boy so carefree with his affection and trust. No, his lover was now a beautiful boy with long, brown hair in a braid with sparkling violet eyes. His lover was also a wary, deadly being without fondness for those he did not recognize.

"I know you don't remember me," Heero said softly, "but I have remembered you for fifteen hundred years. I loved you for that long and will continue loving you for eternity. I am Heero."

Heero's elation turned to confusion when his lover burst out into laughter. He stared at his mirthful lover as he literally fell to the ground when his knees gave out from the laughing.

"You.. you.. you love me? For fifteen hundred years? Are you fucking crazy?"

Heero had expected disbelief and other unpleasant things at his first encounter with his beloved. After all, he did not know of him currently. But something about the way he spoke bothered him, almost made him afraid.

"I do love you."

Duo let out a fresh peal of laughter as he heard the sincerity in Heero's voice. He wasn't laughing because the situation was funny, but because it sounded so true.

"Fifteen hundred years? Is that even possible?"

"For a god, it is."

The laughter stopped as suddenly as it had begun. Duo stared at Heero with wide eyes, knowing his friends were doing the same. A god. They were face to face with a god.

"You really expect me to believe that bullshit? You are a god? As in, powerful, all knowing and all that shit?"

Heero nodded, the grim look on his face growing more pronounced. He did not recall his love being so foul mouthed nor so disrespecting. His lover had been one of his worshippers after all, adoring him and loving him like no one else. But this current incarnation was different. The soul was the same, yes. But the package was nothing like he remembered.

"Heero, you said, right? Heero, if you are a god, prove it."

"I refuse."

Duo shook his head in disbelief. This Heero expected him to believe whatever he said without any kind of proof. Who had that kind of faith in anyone these days? And why did he feel compelled to believe him anyway?

"Okay, fine," Duo said with a trace of annoyance, "then at least prove that you love me."

That got Heero confused more than ever. Prove his love? How did one go about doing that?

"I have loved you for more years than you can imagine. Is that not enough?"

"No, it's not. What's my name? What color do I like? What do I say when I'm pissed off? Do you know anything about me at all, oh great god Heero?"

"What does any of that matter?" Heero replied, "you are the same soul I love. I would love you regardless of what is on the outside. It is your soul that counts."

This time, the laughter was tinged with bitterness and mockery. Duo could not believe the nerve of this Heero who claimed to be a god. He loved him, did he? He has loved him for that long, has he? Then why did who he was matter so little? Did that not merit any kind of love?

"Sorry, buddy, wrong answer. You don't love me, just some guy who died a long fucking time ago. So fuck you, fuck me, get lost."

"No!"

Everyone in the clearing blanched at the absolute fury and pain behind that one word uttered by Heero. It was incredible how a small word could contain so much.

"No," Heero repeated, "I will not. You will remember me. You will see that you love me as I love you. Then it will be as it should be."

Without waiting for a response, Heero pulled out the Pendulum Signet and held it aloft in his hand. He did not notice that all four mortals had gotten their weapons out, ready to strike him if he made a false move. He did not see how Duo's eyes glittered with both anticipation and fear. All he saw was his own lonely soul within the pendant, longing for the one thing that could assuage the pain.

"Remember me."

Heero's words activated the Pendulum Signet. The pendant flashed brilliantly in indescribable colors, shooting out beams of light towards Duo in steady waves. Heero felt himself being drained by the pendant as well, but he held on until the pendant was done.

Trowa, Quatre and Wufei, at the emergence of the light from the strange object in Heero's hand, tried to get to Duo and help him. However, their bodies were rooted to the ground, unable to move, even unable to utter a sound. They watched helplessly as Duo was assaulted by light, his face a study of every emotion available to a human being. They saw Duo cry out in joy and fear, laugh in love and hate, thrash in passion and darkness. After what seemed to be an eternity, the lights stopped and Duo collapsed to the ground.

"DUO!"

The three of them could finally move and they rushed over to their fallen companion's side. They frantically checked for a pulse and signs of breathing and found that he was still alive. He had just passed out. Angrily, Wufei stalked over to Heero and punched him in the face as hard as he could.

"What the fuck did you do to him?"

Heero merely wiped the small trickle of blood from his lip and smiled. He could feel it. He could feel his mortality. He felt the vibrancy of life more because he now could die. The Pendulum Signet had worked!

"I just helped him remember us."

Having no reply to that cryptic remark, Wufei went back to Duo's prone form. Whatever had really happened, he had a feeling that their lives had just gotten more complicated than ever.

+

The world was a sluggish blur, moving slowly and thickly around him. Duo wanted to open his eyes and check out what was happening, but his eyelids were not cooperating. He could hear noises all about him – the wind rushing, the water falling, the grass moving. And somewhere in the distance, he heard a voice.

"Oh, Heero, aren't these beautiful? They are the color of your eyes!"

That voice was cheerful and almost child-like, ringing with an innocence that Duo had never experienced. He dimly wondered who it could be. Who had that kind of innocence anymore? Certainly not him. He had shed his innocence when he had been sold into the assassin's guild by his abusive father and apathetic mother. He envied the owner of that carefree voice, the way it glided over him in gentle waves of comfort and contentment.

Then it occurred to him. The voice.. it had called to Heero. Heero, the boy who had suddenly stepped into his life with grandiose declarations of love and immortality. The boy who had made him angry with his words of love. Duo forced his eyes open and felt the sharp, stabbing pain from the sunlight . He waited for his vision to clear and then looked about him.

He was mildly surprised that he was floating in midair, his body parallel to the ground. He swiveled his head around to his right, towards the direction of that human voice and saw a boy about his age prancing around the grassy field below him. The boy was clad in a tunic of some sort belted at the waist by a rope, running on barefoot. His shoulder length auburn hair had violets and larkspurs in it, contrasting sharply with his big, clear green eyes. His pale skin seemed almost too translucent in the bright sun, seemingly more colorless because of the vibrant red of his hair.

But what attracted his notice more than the boy was the figure following behind him. There could be no mistake about it – it was Heero. The dark brown hair mussed by the wind lay haphazardly over his beautiful face, nearly covering the deep blue eyes. Heero had very little clothing on, just something that could pass for an indecent loincloth, his bronzed skin bare to the entire world and Duo's eyes. Duo had to admit that Heero was perfect physically and that there had been an instant attraction when they had first met in the campsite. But this Heero he was seeing did not have that painful and desperate look in his eyes.
Instead, this Heero was brimming over with joy, almost bouncing as he followed the redhead around the field.

'Is that who I was? That innocent boy?'

Duo felt tears gather behind his eyes. So, that was the boy Heero had loved for so long. He was looking at what his soul was fifteen hundred years ago, housed in a compact body that radiated innocent joy.

'Heero really must be stupid! I'm nothing like the boy he loved.'

That thought pained him somehow. Duo didn't really understand what was going on with his emotions at all when it came to that enigmatic boy. But he knew that he didn't love Heero. No, he didn't. He couldn't. The one who loved Heero was down there on the field, auburn hair and green eyes, running around and laughing. And that was the one Heero loved. Heero did not love Duo Maxwell, the assassin with eyes too old for his pixie face, the boy with a crude sense of humor, the one who did not trust people without a good reason.

Duo continued watching as he floated in midair, trailing his eyes over Heero's lithe body and rippling muscles. It was too bad that the guy was so beautiful. As he watched, he saw the scene fade away slowly, the colors leeching out of the landscape and the light growing dimmer. The last thing Duo saw before darkness engulfed him was the boy and Heero entering a small cave hand in hand. And somehow he knew that whatever that happened in that cave would make him understand his resentment for Heero and the pain behind Heero's eyes.

+

"Thank goodness you're okay! We thought he had done something horrible to you."

Duo winced as he lifted his head off the dirt and opened his eyes. He saw that it was getting light, the dawn just filtering in and the evening star dying out. He also saw three very concerned faces of his friends.

"I'm good. Just a splitting fucking headache."

Just then, Heero stepped into the tight circle of his friends and reached out his hand. Just before Heero could caress his face, Duo jerked out of reach and slapped the hand away.

"Don't touch me unless I tell you that you can, okay?"

Duo knew that he had sounded irritable and unreasonable, but he could not help it. Whatever he had seen while he had passed out had affected him more greatly that he let on. The image of Heero laughing and loving that boy had only proven that Heero did not love him. Duo turned his head to look at Heero defiantly, but he lost all malice when he saw the immeasurably hurt look shine so darkly out of the deep blue eyes. Instead of feeling justified for his actions, Duo felt like a cruel jackass.

"I.. I don't understand," Heero spoke quietly, "I thought you remembered. Don't you? How you felt about me? You must have remembered."

Sitting up completely, Duo faced Heero. His friends backed up to give him some room, but he still felt their curious eyes on him.

"Yeah, I guess if you can call it that, I remembered. I saw you all googly eyed over a boy who is nothing like me. He was an innocent boy. Packaging aside, as you say, the one you loved and I are nothing alike. Not a damn thing alike."

"That isn't true! It can't be. You are the same soul. How can a soul change?"

"That's us mortals for you, Heero," Duo replied scathingly, "we change a whole fucking lot according to our environments. So get it through your fucking head! I am NOT the same guy you loved! I don't even love you!"

The pain that shot through his heart when he spoke his last sentence almost ripped Duo into two. However, he covered it up the best he could, trying not to grimace or shed tears at his statement. He did not love Heero. He didn't.

"I don't believe you. I can't. Say you're lying to me. Say it!"

Duo saw the anguish that was shredding Heero apart. The beautiful god before him was suffering, more so than he had before. It hurt him to see Heero like this, even if he didn't want to feel that way.

"Damn it, Heero, if you want me to love you so fucking much, make me love you! And you better love me for who I am, not for what I was! Can't you see the fucking difference?"

Heero sat back abruptly at Duo's ultimatum. He could not believe that this was how it turned out. After all he had gone through in fifteen centuries, after giving up all that he was, this was the reward. There was no declaration of eternal love, no joyous reunion, just a heartache that surpassed the aching pain that he had been through.

Relena had been right. This hurt worse than before. She had known and had tried to warn him. Heero could feel a hysterical bubble of laughter building in his chest, clawing its way through to his mouth. He knew that if he started laughing, it would be over. He would be driven into madness. But no, he was stronger than this. What was that his love wanted? To be loved as he was now, not what he remembered? To make him love all over again?

"I will," Heero said in a shaky voice, "I will make you love me again. More than before. And I will love you. No matter what."

The relief that washed through Duo's system was incredible. For a moment, Duo had been deathly scared that Heero would just walk off and never deal with him again. He could admit that there was an attraction, a tie between them. But he still felt that resentment, that hatred he had first felt when he saw Heero. It was as if he wasn't in control of his emotions, his life. He hated that feeling and it had become worse when Heero had just demanded that he love him. But with Heero at least trying to do what he asked, the resentment was less, the hatred faded a bit. Maybe, just maybe, this could work.

"Okay then. It's a deal."

Heero finally smiled. If this was his only chance with his beloved, then he would not waste it.

"Hi. My name is Heero. And you are?"

Duo shook the proffered hand and began again.

"Duo. Duo Maxwell. Nice to meet you."


+

[part 2] [part 4] [back to 0083's fic]